25 Jul / 2017

Leaving You In Stitches, Part 1: Human Tissue Theft

Leaving You in Stitches, Part 1

A nun plucks penises off a phallus tree in the Roman de la Rose, c. 1325-1353. (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS. Fr. 25526, f. 106v.)

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “tissue theft?” Do you think of evil elves on a clandestine caper to acquire tissue paper for wrapping presents? Perhaps you think of someone with a horrible cold stealing your last box of tissue. After this episode, you’ll think of more gruesome things… Horrific History co-hosts Eric Slyter and Curtis Bender examine examples from history when people have had parts of their body lost, removed or stolen- sometimes even without their awareness or consent! Documented true-life cases and psychological maladies, fables and witch hunts, curses and hexes, this episode will have you looking for certain body parts in the trees.


Severed penises held captive (and put on a strict diet), radium tube inserts, immortal cells that could encircle the Earth three times over, marital difficulties blamed on  organ-stealing sorcerers, this episode has a load of squeam for you! Our research included Europe, Africa, United States, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Iran, Moldova, Israel and China. Hear about the cases and circumstances that led to new developments in medical innovations, ethical reforms, and agreements like the Declaration of Istanbul. Transplant tourism and organ brokers, donors who will sell body parts for the price of a car or even just a new pair of dentures, you’ll hear it all… Just remember: no squeam allowed!


So sit down under a nice tall tree while you listen to this Horrific History Podcast episode through one of your favorite podcast services (iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn and more) and come back again next week to hear Part 2 of Leaving You In Stitches!


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If you are in the USA and interested in learning more about (legal) organ donation, please go here.


Would you like to learn more about Henrietta Lacks? Check out this book on Amazon: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

Or, if you are interested in the HBO movie, you can find The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks (Digital HD) here:

Some of our favorite resources from this week’s episode:


Horrific History Podcast


Commercial break music by Dead but Dreaming.

Slideshow photo credit: 13th Century Massa Marittima Mural

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